LIVE REVIEW: R.I.P Society 5th Birthday @ Sydney Opera House (24/05/14)

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The Dead C

Vivid Live deserves a pat on the back for inviting Nic Warnock’s R.I.P Society label to celebrate their 5th birthday with a stylistically varied lineup of a dozen acts that have been released on the label or share its open-minded and independent approach to music.

Things started off skronky and dissonant with Ghastly Spats before frontman Lincoln Brown ditched his guitar, picked up a new band (Housewives) and straightened the music into gonzo punk territory. With the audience attention switching across the room to another of the three stages they found Rat Columns playing their debut show and they were a real highlight. Tight, melodic, urgent and melancholic guitar pop that perfectly balanced mood, sonics and songwriting. As quickly as structured pop/rock songs appeared they were dissected and interestingly mutated by the jazz and dub inflected Cured Pink. Warnock’s own band Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, who surprised and impressed many with their debut album, played a great set that retained the record’s suburban ennui in a low key and jovial manner.

Hobartian duo The Native Cats probably won the most new fans. Utilising bass, vocals and programming they mixed electronica and post punk, like Shellac cosying up to New Order, to great effect. There were two other electronic acts on the bill, the textural experimentation of Half High and the hypnotic dance music of Holy Balm who created the most celebratory vibe of the night. Rounding out the party were three quite different bands – Woollen Kits and their emotive jangle pop, the seminal feedtime who delivered the heaviest, most pummelling set and one that showed just why they are deemed so influential and finally the finest exponents of deconstructed rock music – New Zealand’s The Dead C. They took all the music that preceded them and sonically disintegrated it into absorbing experimental fragments. R.I.P Society deserved such a eclectic celebration of their diverse roster and all bands delivered appropriately fine and unique performances.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

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